Anandway: Blog

Roadmaps to joy!

Destination India!

In Urdu, we'd say, 'der aaye durust aaye' :-) to this... Incredible India has identified 20 great destinations to promote and develop. This is great news to us desi travellers, plus a new opening for international tourists to explore in India.

The official word is that the Indian Tourism Ministry has identified 20 mega destinations for infrastructure development, since India is witnessing encouraging trends in the tourism sector with foreign tourist inflows touching 5 million mark in the year 2007.

Domestic tourism is also a key driver. The “Incredible India” campaign has led to immense interest and awareness and is likely to result in significantly larger numbers of tourists traveling to and within the country. All this requires infrastructure, particularly at the key destinations / circuits. 
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Sri Lanka's King Ravana

Sri Lanka has cultural links with India, somewhat like the rest of South Asia.  Among other things, Buddhism and the story of Ramayana bring the two countries together on several platforms.

Sri Lanka's king Ravana

Now that the Sri Lankan government has released formal information about geological finds dating to the era when Ram and Ravan had come face to face here, in the war talked about in the Lankakand chapter of Tulsidas's Ramayana, Sri Lanka will certainly see a spate of Indian travellers visiting the country for an update.

Ramayana has become the link to Sri Lanka's past and present. Sites associated with the Ramayana are being promoted by the Sri Lankan Tourism Board. More...

Ayurvedic wines?

Rajiv Kaushik, son of an Ayurvedic doctor, has taken to winemaking as a career. When the debate is hot about differences between Old-world and New-world wines, we notice that Ayurvedic wines, such as in Arishtha and Asava prepartaions have been around for over five millenia! They have recorded health benefits and are still used as patent medicine.

Son of an Ayurvedic doctor, he uses Vedas as the back ground for the history and formulation of wine. 'I had been studying various processes to make a wine that would go well with spicy Indian food and did research for 4 years.'
Ayurvedic Wines are an Indian entity. Have always been so. There alcohol content is restricted to about four percent, and they are all highly potent medicines, says Ayurvedic practitioner Dr Sharath Kumar.

Ayurvedic wines for good health

Why is it that while the Indian wine industry is busy bringing in French and Italian technology, winemakers and grape varietals to India, the treasure of Ayurvedic wines is quite lost to them?

Rajiv Koushik may be a one off case, but the big names such as Chateau Indage, Grovers, United Breweries, and even the upcoming names such as Vintage Wines, Indus Wines, Chateau D'Ori and others in the industry have yet to explore the potential of Ayurvedic wines for true health benefits, and showcase India's ancient wisdom to wine enthusiasts.

Now, online booking for bus service in India

The Indian travel industry has geared up to cater to convenience for travellers by way improving bus travel...

Online travel portal Ezeego1.com has tied up with bus tour operator redBus, to offer online spot booking on nearly 3,600 routes across the country. According to Ezeego1, the profile of tourists in the country is changing and most vacationers from metros are weekend hoppers, looking for a quick getaway to the nearest holiday town or fusing short-haul business travel with leisure.
It is high time too, that the Indian travel industry has seen the gap and done something about it. More...

The Indian Paan bazaar, Old Delhi

From Banarsi to Maghai to Awadhi, all kinds of betel leaf preparation as in the Indian paan are enjoyed for equally varied reasons. Like wine connoisseurs know their wines, paan connoisseurs know what their favourite paan is all about.

Paan preparation

Paan bazaar, an alley market in Sadar Bazaar, offers a glimpse of Indian culture in Old Delhi. In India, paan has been playing an important role in the social life and customs of people for hundreds of years. In the court of the Mughal kings and others rulers, the betel leaf or paan was offered as a part of hospitality, friendship and love. This bazaar is well known for paan and its products that attract a large number of customers from across the city.

The bazaar has more than 100 paan shops. There are at least 50 varieties of paan available at paan bazaar from rupees two to rupees 400 per doli. A doli contains 200-250 paan. You can get a Golta Madrasi paan, Bangal paan, Banarasi paan, Jagatnathi Desi paan, Dholak Pakistani paan, Hydrabadi paan or Afsana paan on the spot. The best betel leaf is the ’Magahi’ variety (from the Magadha region) grown near Patna, in Bihar.

Every paan-lover in India has personal favourites. Maghai pan being the most famous among them. Amitabh Bacchan's rendition of Khai ke paan banaras wala, khul jaye band akal ka tala, is exactly how paan-lovers praise their favourite chew. It refreshes the mind, they say.

Paan is such a hot favourite, and cultivation of betel leaves such a tedious affair that one needs to watch out for quality. Paan, however is available all over India, in all its regional avatars.

For authentic and mouth-watering taste, they use sachi paan leaves, chuna, gulkand, clove, cherry, flavoured saunf, masala cherry, sugar, artificial sweetener, menthol, date, saffron, condiments, sada bahar, dilkush, white gold, Tan Sen, pistachio, rose katri, anis, raisin, coconut, chaman bahar, coriander powder, jaggery, permitted food colours, cardamom and different flavours in different proportion and in different varieties as ingredients.

A visit to any region in India is incomplete without a taste of the local paan-beera. And top of the list is Paan Bazaar in Old Delhi. Must visit! Read More

Vedic chants of India for wellness and peace

The album, 'Chants of India' by Music Maestro Ravi Shankar is a great introduction to Indian prayers in tune with Classical Hindustani Music.

Pandit Ravi Shankar

Sanskrit chants from the Vedas, Upanishads, and other texts have been handed down through the centuries by Traditional Scholars in India. In these renditions, Ravi Shankar reconfigured existing forms and composed new numbers to convey the spiritual force of these Sanskrit mantras and chants.

Oftentimes, it's the repetitive use of mantras that calls upon the internal spiritual self. And, it's the primordial, and shortest, sacred sound Aum or Om that is used before or after each prayer.

These chants, Shankar notes, "were mainly prayers for the well being of the universe, physical, mental, and spiritual selves of everyone, without pollution, turmoil, illness, discomfort, and misery of any kind and for overall Shanti (peace)."
The following Sanskrit prayer sung by Ravi Shankar echoes the message that transgresses cultures, boundaries, and even time.
Bhoomimangalam. Udakamangalam.
Agnimangalam. Vaayumangalam.
Gaganamangalam. Sooryamangalam.
Chandramangalam. Jagat Mangalam.
Jeevamangalam. Dehamangalam.
Manomangalam. Aatmamangalam.
Sarvamangalam Bhavatu Bhavatu Bhavatu.
Sarvamangalam Bhavatu Bhavatu Bhavatu.
Sarvamangalam Bhavatu Bhavatu Bhavatu.

May there be tranquility on earth, on water, in fire, in the wind, in the sky, in the sun, on the moon, on our planet, in all living beings, in the body, in the mind, and in the spirit. May that tranquility be everywhere, and in everyone.
This is the essence of Vedic chants: invocation of well-being for all existence, because we are all interdependent :-) Read More

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